Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Autism May Be Linked To Being Firstborn, Breech Births Or Moms 35 Or Older

Date:
April 28, 2009
Source:
University of Utah Health Sciences
Summary:
Children who are firstborn or breech or whose mothers are 35 or older when giving birth are at significantly greater risk for developing an autism spectrum disorder, according to a new study with Utah children.

Children who are firstborn or breech or whose mothers are 35 or older when giving birth are at significantly greater risk for developing an autism spectrum disorder, University of Utah School of Medicine researchers have reported in a new study with Utah children.

In the April 27, 2009, online issue of the journal Pediatrics, the researchers showed that women who give birth at 35 or older are 1.7 times more likely to have a child with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), compared with women between the ages of 20-34. Children diagnosed with ASD also were nearly 1.8 times more likely to be the firstborn child, the researchers found.

Although they didn't identify a causal relationship between breech births and autism, children diagnosed with the disorder were more than twice as likely to have been a breech presentation, meaning they were not born head first.

"The results of this study give us an opportunity to look more closely at these risk factors for children across the autism spectrum, and not only those diagnosed with autism," said first author Deborah A. Bilder, M.D., assistant professor of psychiatry. "This shows that further investigation of the influence of prenatal factors is warranted."

Autism is a complex brain disorder that impairs social, communicative, and behavioral development and often is characterized by extreme behavior.

Bilder and her colleagues in the U medical school's department of psychiatry and the Utah Department of Health examined the birth records of Utah children who had been identified as having an autism spectrum disorder in a 2002 epidemiological study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That study looked at 8-year-old children in Utah's three most populous counties—Salt Lake, Davis, and Utah—and used nationally accepted criteria for an ASD classification. The researchers compared birth records for children identified with an ASD with unaffected children born in those three counties in 1994. Of that group, 196 were identified with an ASD. Birth certificates were available for 132 of those children, and the researchers examined those records for possible prenatal, perinatal, and neonatal risk factors related to ASD.

Their investigation showed that the mother's age when giving birth (older than 34), breech presentation, and being firstborn were significant risk factors for the development of an ASD. The researchers also identified a small but significant relationship between the increased duration of education among mothers of those children.

Further investigation would be needed to understand how these three risk factors may relate to ASD. But a possible explanation for the correlation of firstborn children might be that parents are reluctant to have a second child if the first is diagnosed with ASD. A possible interpretation of increased risk associated with advanced maternal age is that changes in genes occurring over time may contribute to autism spectrum disorders. The association found between breech presentation and ASD most likely indicates a shared cause, such as neuromuscular dysfunction. The vast majority of children born breech, however, are healthy.

This study follows several from the University in recent years, which found that Utah has one of the highest autism spectrum disorder rates in the country (one in 133 Utah children has the disorder), helped identify a gene that may predispose people to autism, and showed that Utah adults with autism have a better quality of life than those in other studies.

For the next step in their research, Bilder and her colleagues want to repeat this study, using a larger population of Utah 8-year-olds from subsequent birth years, to see if it replicates the results of the current study. They also may study the subset of children with breech presentation to determine whether they haven a genetic vulnerability that put them at increased risk for developing an autism spectrum disorder.

The study's other authors are Judith P. Zimmerman, Ph.D., research assistant professor of psychiatry; Judith Miller, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry; and William M. McMahon, M.D., chairman of the Department of Psychiatry.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Utah Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Utah Health Sciences. "Autism May Be Linked To Being Firstborn, Breech Births Or Moms 35 Or Older." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090427091115.htm>.
University of Utah Health Sciences. (2009, April 28). Autism May Be Linked To Being Firstborn, Breech Births Or Moms 35 Or Older. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090427091115.htm
University of Utah Health Sciences. "Autism May Be Linked To Being Firstborn, Breech Births Or Moms 35 Or Older." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090427091115.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) You're more likely to gain weight while watching action flicks than you are watching other types of programming, says a new study published in JAMA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins